Positron emission tomography assessment of cerebral glucose metabolic rates in autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia

Serge A. Mitelman, Marie Cecile Bralet, M. Mehmet Haznedar, Eric Hollander, Lina Shihabuddin, Erin A. Hazlett, Monte S. Buchsbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Several models have been proposed to account for observed overlaps in clinical features and genetic predisposition between schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder. This study assessed similarities and differences in topological patterns and vectors of glucose metabolism in both disorders in reference to these models. Co-registered 18 fluorodeoxyglucose PET and MRI scans were obtained in 41 schizophrenia, 25 ASD, and 55 healthy control subjects. AFNI was used to map cortical and subcortical regions of interest. Metabolic rates were compared between three diagnostic groups using univariate and multivariate repeated-measures ANOVA. Compared to controls, metabolic rates in schizophrenia subjects were decreased in the frontal lobe, anterior cingulate, superior temporal gyrus, amygdala and medial thalamic nuclei; rates were increased in the occipital cortex, hippocampus, basal ganglia and lateral thalamic nuclei. In ASD subjects metabolic rates were decreased in the parietal lobe, frontal premotor and eye-fields areas, and amygdala; rates were increased in the posterior cingulate, occipital cortex, hippocampus and basal ganglia. In relation to controls, subjects with ASD and schizophrenia showed opposite changes in metabolic rates in the primary motor and somatosensory cortex, anterior cingulate and hypothalamus; similar changes were found in prefrontal and occipital cortices, inferior parietal lobule, amygdala, hippocampus, and basal ganglia. Schizophrenia and ASD appear to be associated with a similar pattern of metabolic abnormalities in the social brain. Divergent maladaptive trade-offs, as postulated by the diametrical hypothesis of their evolutionary relationship, may involve a more circumscribed set of anterior cingulate, motor and somatosensory regions and the specific cognitive functions they subserve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-546
Number of pages15
JournalBrain Imaging and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Diametrical diseases
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social brain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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